#905. God wills and empowers us to bring our community to Jesus (25/9/23)
In our third and final week of this vision series, we are considering how remaining in the vine will enable us to be effective in bringing 'our community' to Jesus.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5)
‘When the Advocate (Helper) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify (speak well of) about me. And you also must testify (Speak well of) , for you have been with me from the beginning.’ (John 15:26-27)
Lesson: We must embrace God’s will, and receive the Spirit’s power in order to bring our community to Jesus.
To listen to this devotional, go to:
Firstly, it's important to understand that it is God's will for us to help bring our community to Jesus. Life can be busy, with many demands, so it's crucial that we listen to God and align our priorities with His plan for us. When we come to Jesus, the true vine, and remain in Him, we become filled with the Spirit, described as our 'Advocate' or 'Helper.' We are promised that His work in us will lead to us 'testifying' about Jesus. The word 'testify' can be translated as 'speaking well of.' We are all called and can be empowered to 'speak well of Jesus' in the places where He has put us. We are called to bring people to Him for salvation and then to help them to mature as His disciples. Probably the most famous text that teaches this is The Great Commission, where we read:
‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:19-20)
We are told to “go”. If we remain in the vine, if we have a living relationship with Jesus, the Spirit will regularly remind us of this calling to help people to know and grow. He promises to be with us and He is with us and will empower us by the Spirit to fulfil this commission. This is the raison d’être of all churches and our vision: ‘bringing people to Jesus: Myself, one another and our community’ is a simple way of reiterating this.
I hope we can see that by bringing 'myself' and 'one another' to Jesus (the first two aspects of our vision), we will naturally develop a deep, Spirit-inspired desire to bring 'our community' to Jesus. This is inevitable because those who remain in the vine will bear much fruit, including a strong desire and the courage to share our faith. One cannot be close to Jesus without coming to love the things that He loves, including those who are lost!
We must embrace God’s will and trust the Spirit to enable us to help bring our community to Jesus.
At CCP, our strategy for helping bring people to faith is 'SIV,' which stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our simple strategy for bringing our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.
Effective evangelism begins with prayer: 'You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name, the Father will give you.' (John 15:16). As we pray, and SIV, we will ‘bear fruit that will last’ and this includes sharing eternity with those whom we have led to Christ.
Today, my challenge to you is to make a list of people whom God has placed in your life and pray for them regularly. Pray that God would help you 'SIV.' If we pray, we know that we will bear fruit.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Let's use the icebreaker that we talked about in our vision series: How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?'
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read John 15:5, 26-27
This week, as we end our brief vision series I thought that we could ensure that we understand the vision and goals and spend some time praying over it.
Let’s begin by reminding ourselves of our vision and goals as a church:
At CCP, our vision is: 'Bringing people to Jesus: myself, one another, and our community.'
1. Myself(I bring myself to Jesus)
We are seeking to build a church in which every member knows the importance of, and has the skills to come to Jesus each day so as to live as fully devoted followers of Jesus every day.
2. One another (We bring one another to Jesus)
We have an Acts 2 vision of the church where we see their devotion to meeting together. Together, we encourage each other to come to Jesus and put Him at the centre of our lives.
3. Our community (we seek to bring our community to Jesus)
We are a church that has deep compassion for our community and we know that God wants to work through us to bring people to Him. We understand or identity as 'salt and light' in our communities doing good works and sharing the gospel thoughtfully. We love to ‘serve, invest and invite’ in our community - invest in friendships and invite them into our lives, church community and closer to Jesus, particularly through Alpha.
Our 4 simple goals
To help with this, we have 4 very simple but, I believe, powerful goals that encourage every member to work on:
Goals to help me to bring ‘myself’ to Jesus:
1. We 'come to Jesus daily' by setting aside quality time each day in prayer and worship out of the Bible and asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit (20 minutes, using the ‘come to Jesus daily’ blog is a good start)
2. The 'icebreaker' used in our CG meetings is, normally, 'How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?'
Goal to help bring 'one another' to Jesus:
3. We are devoted to building an amazing Community Group (Meeting weekly is a good start).
Goals to help us to bring ‘our community’ to Jesus:
4. We aim to share, pray and plan about how we are ‘serving, investing and inviting’ into our community every time we meet in our Community Groups. Additionally, we pray and plan specifically during our monthly ‘SIV Week’ (Serve/Invest/Invite).
What is SIV?
SIV stands for Serve, Invest, and Invite. This is our very simple strategy to help bring our community to Jesus. We believe that God has placed us in relationships and in specific locations to be 'salt and light.' We can effectively bring people to Jesus by 'Serving' them, demonstrating the love of Christ in practical ways; by 'Investing' in the people to whom we feel the Spirit is leading us; and by 'Inviting' them into our homes and hospitality, to church events, to Alpha, and ultimately, inviting them to come to Jesus through the gospel.
1. How does Jesus' teaching on remaining in the vine relate with our vision and goals?
2. Please now read John 7:37-39, which is another text that has been very influential in the forming of our vision. How does this text relate to our vision and goals?
3. This week, we focussed on reaching our community for Jesus. Please ensure that you understand SIV and our goals around this.
4. Do you have any encouraging stories of how you are serving, investing and inviting?
4. SIV - Do you have a prayer list of people that God has put on your heart?
5. SIV - Do you have any friends that you could invite to church or a church event? If yes, how have you developed this relationship, if no, how could you make progress?